tv 116th Congress Freshmen Profile Interviews Part 3 CSPAN January 22, 2019 3:36pm-4:03pm EST
well-being in terms of going back and forth and just the stresses of job. i think that's what a mom does so -- [captions copyright national cable satellite corp. 2019] [captioning performed by the national captioning institute, which is responsible for its caption content and accuracy. visit ncicap.org] >> new congress, new leaders, atch it all on c-span. >> according to the brookings institution, the 116th congress is the most educated congress in history. with 72% of the house having earned a graduate degree. c-span recently spoke with some f the new members. democrat chris pappas was elected to congress and the of openly gay member congress. >> why did you say no before? why did you say yes this time? papanikolaou well, i care about the -- mr. pappas: well, i care about the state i grew up in. i needed to make sure that i was meeting my responsibility
to the voters that elected me to my state office, to my family restaurant business. this seemed like an important and be counted to restore faith in the institutions of government and be able to get some things one. this was the right time for me to do it. i did it when people were running campaigns just like the ones we were running in new hampshire about issues that are important, lowering the cost of medicare, making sure that everything works for everyone. reforming democracy so the power is in the hands of regular folks. >> what were you do before you ran? mr. pappas: running a restaurant business that's been in my family for 101 years and it's difficult to step back a little bit from that but i have capable family members who are helping to shepherd the business forward. i also serve on new hampshire's executive council which is unique to our state.
it's a five-member board of directors that the governor has to run all of his or her decisions through in terms of appointments and state contracts. pretty central how the state operates. it gave me an interesting advantage point to see how federal funds flow into states. how programs are valuable. how our role in washington has implications ho how the state governments can run as well. i won't lose sight. >> you are 38 years old. this experience you had before coming to washington, how do you think it will impact you here? mr. pappas: well, i think we come with different sets of experiences. i think you wouldn't want an incoming class or entire congress made up of people that are from the same profession, from the say the socioeconomic or racial background and so it's important we have diversity. i think one of the wonderful things about this new class it looks much more like the rest of america. and i think it's going to reinvigorate congress' ability to respond to issues out there. i look at the incoming class as
really grounded in districts all across the country in terms of the concerns that people have and we're going to work hard to give voice to those concerns. help try to put focus on not divisive politics but how we can achieve results. >> what's your reaction when you see headlines like democrat chris pappas heads to congress after bitter congressional district race? mr. pappas: actually, we didn't have baiter race. i think our race was really positive. it was constructive. it was responding to the needs of the people of new hampshire. and i had a really cordial contest with a republican. i had a really cordial contest with 10 other democrats in a primary that was decided on september 11. i think it was a really positive process. i think the people of new hampshire, the people of america deserve representatives in washington who are going to push the politics aside and focus on them. that's why we were sent here and we can't lose sight of it. >> your seat has bounced back and forth between the two parties. you're replacing carol
shea-porter. what will be your priorities to appeal to both democrats and republicans in your district? mr. pappas: i do represent a swing district. lots of the incoming class represent districts that may not have always elected members of their party so i think it's really critical for us out of the gate to respond by staffing up so we can answer the constituent calls that will be coming in. as someone that's run a restaurant business, customer service is really important to me. having a strong district operation that's going to respond to the needs of the people of new hampshire is absolutely critical. in terms of issues, we got to make sure we continue to leverage more resources to fight the opioid crisis in new hampshire and across the country. 52,000 individuals in america lost their lives to an overdose death last year. we have to continue to make sure we invest in treatment, recovery, prevention, to reduce the number of lives lost. democracy reform package is
really exciting. we got to reform our campaign finance system. protect the right to vote. make sure we promote ethics in government and restore people's faith in the institutions of the congress and of the federal government. i think that bill will help us do that. i think beyond that we got to respond to the needs of people in terms of having affordable access to health care. and that's a critical concern. regardless whether you are a republican or democrat, you pay that bill. you know it's been going up and up. we have to lower the cost of premiums and prescription drugs. >> another headline that is dominant about you is that you become new hampshire's first openly gay member of congress. is that a big deal? mr. pappas: i think it's important that everyone has a seat at the table. and i think it's critically important as we consider pushing forward the equality act to make sure there's no discrimination anywhere in this congress, regardless of who you are or who you love. that's an important bill that i think is going to be a priority of this house this year. in addition to that, i think
it's just really critical that everyone's represented, everyone has a seat at the table. i didn't run to make history. i ran to try to make a difference for the people of my home state. but i think there is value to sending a message that everyone is welcome in the public square, that everyone has something to contribute to the political process. i grew up questioning as a high school kid in my hometown wondering if i could have a place within that community and now to be representing the people of new hampshire's first district in congress is a really amazing trajectory for me. i think it shows the arc of history and how much progress that we've made over the last few years. to the extent my election sends a positive signal, i think that's a healthy thing and i hope it shows everyone should be included. >> who has been your mentors and why? mr. pappas: well, i had so many. i had political mentors. i had mentors within my own family. when you grow up in restaurant business you learn with the world around you through that experience and i learned early on it's not about you. it's not even about the bottom
line. but it's about how you look after people and what your role is in the larger community and that allowed me to transition into public service in a really interesting way. in new hampshire where we have a citizen-led government. i think that's what politics has got to be about. it's got to be about not egos. not trying to be the loudest or most provocative person in the room. but looking for ways to bridge the divide and work together and make things happen. people want to see some wins being put on the word for working and middle class people in my state and all across the country and that's our charge. >> republican kelly armstrong is the newly elected representative for north dakota's at-large district. mr. armstrong is the former north dakota republican party chair as well as an attorney and an energy firm executive. >> you were state senator before and you ran as a trump republican. what does that mean? armarm it means we support -- mr. armstrong: it means we support states' rights. this administration has spent
time in north dakota. they care about issues important to us. oil and gas, agriculture, the american boon, making sure north dakota government, north dakota people are in charge of north dakota destiny. >> you served as a state senator. what will you bring from that experience? mr. armstrong: got first elected in 2012 and i chaired our senate judiciary committee committee and our justice reinvestment committee. prior to that i was involved in the oil and gas industry in western north dakota. before that i was a criminal defense attorney for 10 years. i was involved in a well-rounded, problem solving approach and stressing that the federal government stays in its own lane and allows for them to allow states and the people of north dakota to move forward and continue to do what we do best and that's feed and power the country. >> when did you decide you would run for this seat and who did you talk to about it? mr. armstrong: i decided to run about a day after congressman kramer announced for the senate -- congressman crammer
announced for the designate race. i talked to my wife. 48 hours we had an entire campaign up and running so it was off to the races. >> what is that conversation like with the spouse about that kind of journey you're about to take? mr. armstrong: i was serving as state republican chairman in north dakota. she's my closest confident and best friend. when this all kind of happened very quickly and she just was like, why don't you run? and i spent time talking to rick berg who was the congressman before mr. cramer. i talked about -- his son was right between my kids' age when he ran for the first time. i love the people of north dakota and i'm excited to serve them but i had to make sure my family was all on board and we were ready to take this jump together. >> what did he tell you? mr. armstrong: he said, you can do it. he said it's great if you embrace it and make sure your family and your kids are a priority. it's a wonderful experience for them to watch how you can watch not only the things that they
get access to while you're in washington, d.c., but also to get a really good taste of public service at a young age. >> how do you make them a priority? what did he tell you about that? mr. armstrong: bring them out. enjoy them. my daughter will be -- i'm sure this summer she will spend time in the office helping stuff envelopes and by about a month she will give the best tour in the capital. at least every nonprofessional tour. my wife a is originally from oslo, norway. we have spent -- our kids have the luxury and benefit of traveling all over the world. she makes it a point to get back home once in a while and take her kids with them. they are used to being on aerospace. when you're in north dakota you're used to traveling. i think it will be an exciting experience. >> how old are your kids? my daughter is 11 and my son is 8. >> what did they say about you running? mr. armstrong: it was great. we ran a positive campaign. we never ran a single negative ad. obviously for those type of
things, you're in the spotlight a little more. they were on stage with me at convention when we won and really excited. it's been a learning process and they've been fantastic. we spent thanksgiving weekend, four days at universal studios and took a much-needed family vacation. >> what was their reaction and your wife's reaction when you won? mr. armstrong: they were excited. they're moving forward. i couldn't do this without their support and it's been great. >> what are your priorities for the 116th congress congress? mr. armstrong rrt first question is whether a farm bill gets done in the lame-duck session. allow states to regulate your own businesses. work towards things in a bipartisan factor when it comes into play. what we do want to do is build oalitions.
we all know we'll fight. we've been fighting since our founding. it's a polarized environment. there are issues you can come on and we should. it's not only good for the citizens of north dakota but good for the whole country. >> explain why the farming bill is important to your state? mr. armstrong: energy and energy is the anchor and in between is small business. agriculture has a direct relationship to every community in north dakota. it really truly is a way of life in our state. two years ago we had the worst drought in a generation. this year obviously we had soft commodity prices and trade issues and now more than ever we need long-term stability in a farm bill with crop insurance, supplemental crop insurance and ensuring we have the safety nets for those that grow the food not just for the country but the whole world. >> explain how much time you plan to spend out there versus
back home in north dakota and the logistics of getting back home and also where do you plan to live out here? mr. armstrong: we found a place close to the capitol. one of the things important to me was making sure my family has their own space. my wife has a great job. she can work off a laptop. logistically we are used to it in north dakota. i live in mountain time. when i land in bismarck which is 100 miles east of my hometown i get home in 15 minutes. might make for early mornings. i am an old bow hunter and used to climbing into a tree stand early morning. we will be back and forth as much as possible. we -- you have to. if you forget who you work to for five minutes you will have problems in d.c. and will have a lot more problems at home. >> car ride and plane ride? mr. armstrong: we fly from d.c. to minneapolis to bismarck. the d.c. flight to minneapolis, two, 2 1/2 hours. minneapolis to bismarck, right
at an hour. it's about an hour and 25 minute drive home. >> democrat maxx rose, an afghanistan war veteran, who earned the bronze star, purple heart and combat infantry man badge was elected to serve new york's 11th district. >> why did you decide to run? mr. rose: i decided to run because i -- you hear a ton of frustration everywhere you go. democrats and republicans now working together. there's this gridlock. our problems are staring us in the face. we feel like we're being lied to. people getting bought off. i thought back to the soldiers who i served with, folks who had multiple deployments. they didn't think about anything but the country. i thought back when i got first in afghanistan. the only reason my life was saved was because of the armor underneath my vehicle which pulled the explosion away from the core. congress got the job done in a
bipartisan way in a quiet manner. they didn't care about c-span or msnbc or fox. no disrespect to c-span. we need more of that around here. big, bold, dynamic solution. i want to be part of that story. i think it's possible in this country, greatest country in the world. >> when did you serve, why did you join the military and how long were you in? mr. rose: i'm still in. been in just under nine years. captain in the national guard. served in afghanistan. five years ago, 2012-2013. and i enlisted for the very same reason why i decided to do this. public service in my blood, deep down in the core of me. i can't explain it. this is how i want to spend the rest of my life. serving others, trying to build an even better country. and i can't wait. i can't wait. i feel blessed. >> who or what inspired you to want to serve this country? mr. rose: if anyone tells you they have one singular answer to that they're lying to you.
the truth is is that i think about so many different things. i think about my parents. my mother who is a community college professor. i think about mentors i had like the late great brooklyn district attorney ken thompson who we lost several years ago who enacted some incredibly bold criminal justice reform initiatives. it was an honor to learn from him as he was doing that. think about the soldiers who i served with. i think about all these people who have really done things that show incredible courage and integrity. at one point people said those things were impossible. let's continue to push the ball forward. do things that others say can't be done, i don't believe that. >> who are you replacing and have you received any advice for this job? mr. rose: i'm replacing dan donovan. i commend him for decades of service to staten island and south brooklyn. i had the privilege to meet with him after the election. talk about ways that mile
office can pass -- take the baton from his and make sure we're handling constituent affairs correctly. that's what's most important. he was never my enemy. in that race. i was never his. when i served in afghanistan, the taliban was my enemy. we have so many enemies as a country. we have to stop thinking that the person on the other side of the political aisle is our enemy. >> what were you doing before you ran for office? mr. levin: i was an environmental attorney for many years so i've been involved in the clean energy industry out in california where we've done a lot to advance things like solar and wind and electric vehicles, battery storage, and really reduce our greenhouse gas footprint. i helped found the nonprofit
for that industry in my home county of orange county, california. and worked across the aisle to get things done in the clean energy policy space including a renewable energy standard and now some very forward-thinking renewable energy policies in california that i hope in some ways can become a national model. that's one of the things i've done. another is i used to run the democratic party in orange county. i was following all these other races. perhaps more than a candidate should. i was so overwhelmingly happy to see the success we had and some of my good friends in those other orange county districts and other california districts now as part of this new 116th congress democratic majority. >> where does your -- where does your interest in the environment come from? mr. levin: it started as an undergrad at stanford and there was rern going on with regard to climate change and the human impact of emissions, carbon emissions on our air, our
water, and our climate. then when i got to law school at duke university, they have a very fine environmental program and i knew that's where a lot of my interests was, my passion was. then i had to figure out how we could advance the clean energy industry in a place like orange county which historically had been quite conservative and president obama back when he was first elected. they passed the recovery act in the wake of a big recession and they needed new investment in things like clean energy. and fortunately that led to i think a lot of interest in a place like orange county for new, you know, solar and wind and waste energy in a wide variety of startups in clean energy and i worked first as an attorney representing a lot of those companies and then i helped to find that nonprofit and then i went in-house to a couple of those growing companies and got to really dig in to some very important policies and i'm so proud what we achieved in california and i hope to bring some of that experience here in washington.
>> orange county is considered republican territory to many. has it changed over the years? mr. levin: oh, absolutely. it's no longer republican territory. we now have seven members of the congressional delegation all are democrats and that's truly remarkable when you consider it wasn't that long ago, as you said, it was considered a bastion of conservativism. things have changed. in my district which encompasses northern san diego county, about a quarter of the district is in south orange county. i'm just so proud of everyone who worked so hard, the volunteers, the grassroots who knocked on every door, made every call, that's why we're here. we're here to do the people's work and to really represent the constituents of 49. i'm just eager to get to work. >> you're replacing republican darrell issa who retired from that seat after serving nine terms. why did you decide now was the time to run for this seat? mr. levin: well, i've been approached about this quite a while ago.
back in 2013, 2014, 2015. my wife and i have two young kids at home. they are now 6 and 4 years old. you know, we decided a few years back with them being so young it just wasn't the right time. after 2016, i worked very hard on secretary clinton's campaign for president. after the result, i was devastated. wanted to know how i could best make a difference. then we had the first women's march. if you remember the women's march right after the inauguration. i think it was january 21, 2017. on the wait a minute home from that my wife turned to me and said, we're all in. we're going to do this. if you don't have the support of the spouse, if you're married, in a relationship, decide to run for congress or not, you better have the support of your spouse. when she said that to me i knew that, you know, we were probably going to do it. then we announced in march and we were off to the races for the last two years. it's been an extraordinary
journey. so grateful to all those who helped us along the way. they are now going to help us represent these constituents in our district well. >> besides your wife, who else did you hear from that motivated -- convinced you, yes, i can run for this seat and i can win? mr. levin: well, i was very fortunate to have a great consultant, great strategist, guy named park skelton who represents about 10 of us in southern california. and one of the people that he represents who swung a red to blue district is congress member adam schiff. congressman schiff, now chairman schiff, was the -- soon to the chairman schiff, was the first member of congress to endorse our campaign. it was his confidence that was a shot in the arm for all involved in our campaign. we knew we had congressman adam schiff onboard, that really led the way for many of his colleagues to get on board behind our campaign. great field momentum. one thing led to another.
it snowballed and we wound up winning the primary, we have the top two primary system. i recommend any state adopt the top two system. that was really trial by fire. we went through that and then we had a great general election as part of this big wave across the country. >> have you heard from retiring congressman darrell issa? mr. levin: yes. not only did i hear from him but i met with him and he was very gracious. he called on election night right when it became apparent we were going to win. he came and he offered his help to transition. i took him up on it by meeting with him during the first week of orientation. i went and stopped by his office. it was kind of interesting. they were moving. they were moving out. but i think he and i both respect the importance of the office and the importance of maintaining consistency for the constituents. particularly those for whom we're doing casework or who we're working with in the community to get local things
done. we want to make sure we have a seamless transition. and that won't end with just one meeting. i look forward to a good relationship. while we differed on political issues, we both agree the institution of the house is incredibly important. the residents of the 49th district of california deserve a seamless transition. >> what advice, professional or personal or both, did he give you? mr. levin: well, he pointed me to his beautiful view of the capitol and said here's a view you are not going to have just yet. ut, you know, he offered the important work of the casework, making sure that we're always being mindful of the casework and constituent services. he also recommended for me to go and look for bills that have been abandoned by retiring members. that are nonetheless good ideas where we wouldn't have to reinvent the wheel but maybe pick up ideas or concepts and try to bring them to fruition in the 116th congress.
beyond that it was an opportunity for us to get better acquainted after the tumultuous campaign. >> you can find this online at c-span.org. taking live to the u.s. house on this 32nd day of the government shutdown. madam. pursuant to the permission granted in the rules of the u.s. house of representatives, the clerk received the following message from the secretary of the senate on january 22, 2019, at 2:23 p.m. that the senate passed, without amendment, h.r. 430. with best wished, i am, signed, sincerely, karen l. haas. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to clause 8 of rule 20, the chair will postpone further proceedings today on motions to suspend the rules on which a recorded vote or the yeas and nays are ordered, or votes are objected to under clause 6 of rule 20. the house will resume proceedings on the postponed questions at a later time.
for what purpose does the gentleman from georgia seek recognition? mr. johnson: mr. speaker, i move to suspend the rules and pass h.r. 439. the speaker pro tempore: the clerk will report the title of the bill. clinton: h.r. 439. a bill to amend the charter of the future farmers of america nd for other purposes. the speaker pro tempore: pursuant to the rule, the gentleman from georgia, mr. johnson, and the gentleman from georgia, mr. collins, each will control 20 minutes. the chair recognizes the gentleman from georgia. mr. johnson: thank you, mr. speaker. i ask unanimous consent that all members have five legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous material on the bill under consideration. the speaker pro tempore: without objection. mr. johnson: i yield myself as much time as i may consume. the speaker pro tempore: the gentleman is recognized. mr. johnson: thank you. mr. speaker, i rise today in support of h.r. 439, a bipar